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Pier Fishing for Great Lakes Pacific Salmon
08-25-2012, 04:12 PM
Post: #1
Information Pier Fishing for Great Lakes Pacific Salmon
I thought with the fall shoreline pier, or river mouth, fishing for introduced pacific SALMON being close to starting that a quick run-down of the basics I use - might help a few of the newbie members.

The following is NOT regarding up-stream river tactics – just the pier/jetty areas near outflows to Lake Ontario, etc.

These few wee notes are my preferences, and methods which have worked for me over the last few decades… I’m quite sure opinions and experiences will vary….. I invite you to post your thoughts and proven techniques so we all might learn & improve.

**

RODS:

Your usual 6-6” or 7 foot rod would only get you limping by in this league…… casting distance and ease of handling one of these powerful denizens is so much better if you use a rod of at least 8’-6”. I prefer 9’ (which is still light, and therefore less tiring than longer rods through hours of perpetual distance casting and retrieves) - but many use rods up to 11’.

I prefer med light or medium fast taper rods which offer a bit of back bone, and although stiff - still have a bit of whip. Leave the wimpy wispy rods at home – you want to be able to “lean into” and land the fish reasonably quickly to avoid its loss, and to avoid upsetting those fishing around you should you endlessly play a fish in your “shared” space on the pier. If you’re buying a new rod - pay very close attention to its recommended line/lure handling ranges.

**

REELS:

Spinning is the best here IMO – with a reel having at least a 200 yard capacity of your chosen line. A smooth drag is critical to stand up to the initial runs of a large Chinook.

**

LINE:

I use mono……… I like having the forgiving stretch in this venue. And really – this is not finesse fishing. Chinook and Coho Salmon are not all that line shy. But many use braid – your choice. I suggest going just a bit on the light side – but no less than 10 pound test (in mono), but don’t go over 17 (in mono) or distance will be adversely affected.

**
LURES:

Spoons (Little Cleos, Gibbs Krocs, Luhr Jensen Krocodiles, EGBs, Kastmasters, DareDevles………… Yeah that’s it………… SPOONS!......... (use the other stuff up stream). Spoons allow the farthest and best casting presentations possible thus increasing your probability of success. Spoons are also much easier to cast into the wind and in a heavy chop.

In silver, gold, hammered, the metallic/two tone varieties, or fluorescents ………. in 2/3 to 1 ounce. I personally find lures over 1 oz too heavy for this application and increase the odds of snagging up the bottom near the shore/pier.

Steady or variable pumping/jerking retrieves both have worked for me.

Bottom bumping is really not necessary; most of these fish will be suspended. Try different countdowns as you fan cast the area. I have friends that like the glow-in-the dark stuff (I’ve never tried them……. too much time & bother charging them I think - for the success % I’ve witnessed).

Use of a good quality snap swivel will lessen line twisting and make lure changes so much easier when it’s dark.

I’ve tried using various minnow baits, and plugs but really haven’t had any success with them for salmon when fishing directly from piers out into open water. However, I have had success with them just inland in the calmer immediate initial river mouth areas (kwikfish, rapala, flatfish) using a slow retrieve.

Keep hooks sharp. Trebles and single siwash hooks each have benefits over the other… your decision…. Most of my casting lures have trebles.

**

Bait (in the immediate river mouth area just upstream from the pier/jetty):

Spawn bags with flotation beads. Or if you have no spawn…worms with stale mini marshmallows. Keep them well off the bottom if salmon is the target, and to at least minimize the goby interruptions.

**
TIME:

Low light transition periods (dusk+ 2 hours, …or dawn +/- 2 hours) are prime times………. with pitch black dark being the next best option if you really must.

Also note - A few hours or more after a good hard rain will see more fish come within range as they pass by on their upstream run that evening and night.

On shore winds are preferred in the early period of this “season”.

Mid-day is useless unless it’s WELL overcast, and the river water is muddied. Forget bright sunny days with clear water.

If the river is sending out a mud clouded current into the lake - fish the plume’s interface along the clearer lake water.

**

OTHER:

Get a good LARGE landing net with a telescopic handle…… then……. make a sturdy (and tested) extension for it (as is usually necessary) so you can actually reach the water (and your catch) properly from the pier…… don’t even think about going down those rusted up cast-in re-bar pier ladders, slippery pier bumper rails or algae encrusted slippery rock rip rap in the dark.

A small multi bulb LED flashlight (or 2) with fresh batteries, on a lanyard tethered to you, in an easy to grab location, is really nice to have.

Later in the season I use old style solid fuel hand warmers. But the newer more expensive exothermic chemical packs are great too.

Strikes are usually unexpected and quite jolting. Set hook equally hard to ensure penetration.

Possible bonus fish includes the occasional steelhead, brown trout, or shakers.

Should you be lucky enough to actually land an Atlantic salmon (NO spots whatsoever on tail), I urge you to release it alive and unharmed ASAP (also consider buying a lottery ticket on the way home…smile).

If you really are going to keep/kill/eat a fish – put it on a stout stringer and clip it, then please bleed it out over the edge of the pier ……or in a cheap garbage bag -------- and not in the middle of the pier or its paths and walkways. It’s also wise to bring a few “contractor strength” clean up bags for catch transport in your vehicle.

**

Safety

Watch your back-casts, and beware of other’s possible reckless casting activities if it gets crowded (and it will get crowded - when the runs begin in earnest and that news gets around). I know from personal experience that someone else’s treble hook buried in your skull is not all that enjoyable and seemed to strongly detract from the anticipated pleasurable rewarding experience.

In bad weather, or freezing cold – NEVER fish alone, and dress both warm and waterproof.

**

This is a low percentage catch/land scenario, not every trip to a location will be successful. But if you put in the time, and visits, the reward of fighting a screamer, while standing flat footed in one position on the pier facing wide open water………. with no chance of chasing after it ……….will hook you too…….it is an adrenalin pumping blast that will test both you and your gear.

Lastly – leave the pier, pathways, your parking spot, and area you fished - clean, with less garbage, than the way you found them. Takes only a few seconds …… be cool.


Cheers,

OldTimer

<>< I once gave up fishing. It was the most terrifying weekend of my life. ><>

See you on the river.
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[-] The following 6 users say Thank You to OldTimer for this post:
beaser (08-25-2012), Giuga10 (08-11-2013), instapump416 (08-11-2013), MichaelAngelo (08-11-2013), phuongr (08-11-2013), Randy (08-11-2013)
08-27-2012, 12:49 PM
Post: #2
RE: Pier Fishing for Great Lakes Pacific Salmon
Thanks,
Giuga10
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08-11-2013, 09:45 AM
Post: #3
RE: Pier Fishing for Great Lakes Pacific Salmon
Thanks
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08-11-2013, 10:32 AM
Post: #4
RE: Pier Fishing for Great Lakes Pacific Salmon
Thanks OT for the timely and informative post.

(08-25-2012 04:12 PM)OldTimer Wrote:  Keep hooks sharp. Trebles and single siwash hooks each have benefits over the other… your decision…. Most of my casting lures have trebles.

Now this would make for a good discussion. What are your thoughts OT? Trebles hook more fish but singles keep more fish?

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08-11-2013, 01:40 PM
Post: #5
RE: Pier Fishing for Great Lakes Pacific Salmon
(08-11-2013 10:32 AM)MichaelAngelo Wrote:  Now this would make for a good discussion. What are your thoughts OT? Trebles hook more fish but singles keep more fish?

When casting ......IMO... Yes.

When trolling or downrigging - singles have the edge. But this may be due to the non stop movement of the boat which reduces the chances of slack line, and assists in initial hook sets. Plus when downrigging the "cocked" rod release also helps drive big siwash hooks home.

However trebles can really tear up a big fishes mouth through a long battle and the ensuing removal.... if you plan to release.

OT

<>< I once gave up fishing. It was the most terrifying weekend of my life. ><>

See you on the river.
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08-11-2013, 09:24 PM
Post: #6
RE: Pier Fishing for Great Lakes Pacific Salmon
(08-11-2013 01:40 PM)OldTimer Wrote:  
(08-11-2013 10:32 AM)MichaelAngelo Wrote:  Now this would make for a good discussion. What are your thoughts OT? Trebles hook more fish but singles keep more fish?

When casting ......IMO... Yes.

When trolling or downrigging - singles have the edge. But this may be due to the non stop movement of the boat which reduces the chances of slack line, and assists in initial hook sets. Plus when downrigging the "cocked" rod release also helps drive big siwash hooks home.

However trebles can really tear up a big fishes mouth through a long battle and the ensuing removal.... if you plan to release.

OT

Are you saying that when casting there's more of a chance for slack line?

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08-12-2013, 06:28 AM
Post: #7
RE: Pier Fishing for Great Lakes Pacific Salmon
Do you run 4 knots in a direction away from your lure while casting?......... smile

<>< I once gave up fishing. It was the most terrifying weekend of my life. ><>

See you on the river.
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